COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka has halted imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder until the company proves its product is free from cancer-causing asbestos, two government officials and the product’s local distributor told Reuters.
Stocks of the product already in Sri Lanka can still be sold, but there will be no new imports of the talc, a popular healthcare product across Sri Lanka and much of Asia, until J&J India, from where Sri Lanka imports the product, provides fresh test results.
On Dec. 14, Reuters reported that the U.S. drugs and consumer products group knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder, leading to tests in several countries, including in India.
The report was based on thousands of pages of company memos, internal reports, and other confidential documents.
J&J has described the Reuters story as “one-sided, false, and inflammatory”.
Kamal Jayasinghe, chief executive of Sri Lanka’s National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA), which is part of the health ministry, said it had informed the distributor, A.Baur & Co., that it would require further tests for it to continue importing the powder.